Thursday, June 30, 2011

"The Catcher in the Rye" by J. D. Salinger: Read-A-Long

Published: 1951
Read: 2011
Genre: Fiction
Setting: NYC 1949
Rating: 5
List: 1,001
Review: Goodreads

Love it, love it, love it.  And I am only in the first couple chapters.  I hope this love affair will continue.  Because I am getting so much out of my reading, thinking and journaling through the chapters, I want to take my time.  So it will be my own "read-a-long" with no structure or deadline.  The links to the posts (on Josh's blog) are below.

Chapters 1-3   (posted 6/7/11)
Chapters 4 - 10  (posted 6/13/11)
Chapters 11 - end   (posted 6/30/11)

This book reminds me of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain as both protagonists are adolescent boys who are non-conformists at heart, challenging and rebelling against social expectations, not because they are bad but more because they do not see the point.  They look at adults with skepticism and distrust, having seen clear evidence of hypocrisy and in Holden's word, phoniness.

Twain and Salinger excel at capturing the thoughts, musings and speech of the boys, each in their respective time periods. Of the two master plots in fiction, "stranger comes to town" and "hero takes a journey", both are the latter.

I would re-read, but for different reasons.  Twain's story chronicles the adventures of Huck and Jim, a run-away slave, as they travel down the Mississippi River on a raft.  Although Huck is an uneducated, homeless boy, his honest, simple and genuine character shines through, making for a "feel good" story.

Salinger's story is much darker.  Holden is alone in his journey which leads him to an increasingly depressed state.  My interest this book stems from trying to glean whatever I can, via fiction or non-fiction sources, the fragile state of an adolescent boy's mind.  To help me better understand what could've been going on in my beloved boy's head.

Takeaways:  Read other books about adolescents

  • To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

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